Opened on March 25, 1940, the Washington Greyhound Terminal provided the most efficient bus system for its time. William S. Arrasmith of Wischmeyer, Arrasmith & Elswick envisioned a station unique from others. Buses would park diagonally in a zig zag pattern around a free standing island away from the ticket station which streamlined the loading process. The terminal was later considered a "nationally important example of early bus station design."
Many bus models serviced the station throughout the years. These Greyhound models include:
- The 1937 Super Coach - The first intercity bus built by Yellow Card, a division of General Motors. This bus featured an all metal frame, rear engine and air conditioning.
- The 1947 Silverside - Stainless steel/aluminum body, retractable entrance door. This model was designed in the 1930's but was not delivered until the 1940's due to military priorities.
- The 1948 ACF Brill - a luxurious post-war intercity bus powered by a Hall-Scott engine.
The terminal also played a part in U.S. history. During WWII, the building served as a major transport center for military forces. Later, it was a significant destination for African Americans who were leaving the rural South to relocate to Northern urban areas.
In 1983, the Art Deco Society of Washington, the Committee of 100 and the Federal City, and the D.C. Preservation League lobbied for the old Greyhound bus building to be saved. After a lengthy battle, in 1987 the building was designated a Historic Landmark of D.C. You can learn more about the history of the building by visiting the museum lobby at 1100 New York Avenue.